Orders officials to change lease to allow residents to defend themselves
Officials for a government housing authority in East St. Louis, Illinois, have been ordered by a federal judge to change the leases so tenants are allowed their Second Amendment rights to possess guns.
The ruling against the East St. Louis Housing Authority came in a lawsuit by the Second Amendment Foundation in 2018.
“We are delighted with the judge’s decision, which we hope sends a message to other municipal governments that they can’t try to sneak around the two United States Supreme Court victories that SAF and its attorneys were involved in to further their efforts to ban legal firearms ownership,” said Alan Gottlieb, the founder of SAF.
The case was brought on behalf of a resident who was trying to protect herself from “a violent domestic abuser.”
SAF, joined by the Illinois State Rifle Association, was represented by Glen Ellyn, Illinois, attorney David Sigale.
“This isn’t the first time we’ve had to challenge such a regulation,” Gottlieb said. “It is simply unacceptable for citizens living in public housing to be denied their basic right to have a firearm for personal protection, and in this case, it was unconscionable.”
The judge found the Second and Fourteenth Amendments were being violated.
“This situation was made even more outrageous considering what has happened to Ms. Doe while living at her home,” Gottlieb noted, referring to the lawsuit. “We’ve explained how she was beaten and raped in January 2017, and her children stopped the attack only by threatening to use a gun. On two other occasions, Ms. Doe had to call police due to shootings in nearby residences. When the housing authority threatened to terminate her lease due to the gun in her residence, they insisted that the building is safe, so she doesn’t need a gun.
“This kind of gun prohibition extremism has no place on American soil,” he said.
The ruling from Judge J. Phil Gilbert of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois said the housing authority officials “are permanently enjoined from taking any action to enforce any provisions in the … lease” that would prevent the residents from having “functional firearms that are legal in their jurisdiction for self-defense and defense of others in their residences, provided they are otherwise-qualified and in compliance with all local, state, and federal legal requirements.”